In earliest Bible History, before The Flood (see also How Big Was Noah's Ark?), and with a few exceptions after, people lived to ages that seem quite fantastic in comparison to what is normal today ("normal" is a relative term in that regard - life expectancy varies greatly around the world even now, from only about 35 in some places, to approaching 100 in others. For those whose life expectancy is only in the thirties, hearing of someone a hundred years old would seem amazing and "impossible" too).

When "Old Age" Really Was Old Age

Examples of ancient longevity:

How Was It Possible?

God made it possible. God is God; He can do whatever He wants.

Almighty God has the power to create humans from the lifeless soil, and has the power to raise humans back to life after they have died. Compared to creation and resurrection (see also Resurrections), having humans live to a great old age, while they were already living, would seem the simplest of the three tasks.

When the time came that such long-lived humans no longer served God's purpose, He decreed it so: "Then The Lord said, "My Spirit shall not abide in man for ever, for he is flesh, but his days shall be a hundred and twenty years." (Genesis 6:3 RSV). Not coincidentally, the record age for humans today is right at the 120 year level, exactly as God said in Genesis.

But Why So Long At First?

The Bible doesn't say. The most obvious possible reason is faster population growth, starting from just two people - in order to have larger families, they would naturally have to live longer. Preservation of knowledge in a new world, before writing was invented, or in wide use, is another. In societies that had no written records, the death of an elder was regarded to them then much like the burning of a library would seem to us now.

Fact Finder: Who was the most long-lived human on record?
Genesis 5:27

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This Day In History, September 8

1565: Spanish explorers founded the first permanent European settlement in what is today the United States.

1664: The Dutch surrendered New Amsterdam to the British, who renamed it New York after the Duke of York.

1760: The French surrendered Montreal to British forces.

1883: The Northern Pacific Railroad across the United States was completed.

1900: A hurricane with winds of 120 mph and a following tidal wave at Galveston, Texas, killed at least 8,000 people and destroyed over 2,500 buildings in the city.

1944: Germany began the V-2 rocket bombing of Britain.

1945: Korea was partitioned by the United States and the Soviet Union.

1945: Hideki Tojo, Japanese prime minister during most of the Second World War, attempted suicide rather than face a war crimes tribunal. The attempt failed and he was later convicted and hanged.

1974: President Gerald Ford granted former President Richard Nixon a full pardon for any crimes that he may have committed while in office.

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